Turkey’s main opposition leader 'supplier’ of PKK, says Erdoğan ally

The leader of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, on Tuesday accused the leader of the country's main opposition party of being a “supplier” for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while reiterating his call for the pro-Kurdish opposition party to be banned from politics.

The junior coalition partner of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made the remarks targeting Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu during a CHP group meeting, T24 news site reported.

“Kılıçdaroğlu, who calls me the spokesman of the (presidential) palace is the master of ceremonies… and supplier of Qandil,’’ Bahçeli said, urging the CHP leader to admit to his alleged terror links.

The PKK is an armed group that has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for almost four decades. The group has several bases in the region, including its main headquarters in the Qandil mountains. It is recognised as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

The Turkish coalition government frequently accuses opposition groups of terror links.

Erdoğan last month accused the main opposition leader of “acting together with” the PKK, Turkish Halk TV reported. During the same time, the Interior Ministry launched a probe against over 500 staff at Istanbul’s opposition municipality on alleged terror charges.

Bahçeli on Tuesday reiterated his call for banning the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) from politics.

“We cannot stand seeing for another second the HDP, which is doing away with our patience, with its propoganda for so-called Kurdistan,’’ the MHP leader said. 

“Terrorist-lovers are roaming the corridors of parliament,’’ he added.

Ankara has long accused the HDP, Turkey’s third largest party in parliament, of being a political front of the PKK, a charge the HDP denies.

The majority 65 HDP mayors elected in the predominantly Kurdish southeast in 2019 have been replaced by government-appointed trustees while thousands of HDP officials and members have been arrested as part of a crackdown on the group that intensified following the 2016 coup attempt.

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